Either Peter Robinson is slipping or I am getting better at reading his mind. This was the first time since I started reading the series where I was significantly ahead of the story. I was able to discern the bad guy before the story came to the same conclusion. Now, this is only one aspect of reading a mystery, a significant one, but only one. This book, like most of the Inspector Banks series, is a good one. Well written, tightly constructed, has protagonists that you keep caring about, contains enough of the nuts and bolts of police work to educate the reader yet does not bog down in the details to bore the reader. As the previous reviewers had said, this is a story of murders and fires. The details of fire forensics is fascinating as it is. The tale that Robinsons weaves in the telling of the story is equal to the technical details. In addition, the two characters:Banks and Annie Cabbot have come to a point in their evolution within these books to become very interesting and conflicted people. They are quite flawed, as are we all, but they do their jobs and they do it well despite their flaws, as do we all. Robinson allows us a peak at Banks relationship with his ex-wife, which is prickly to say the least. Annie's new beau, too perfect ot be true. And Bank's new flame, another flawed human being. And Annie and Bank's feelings toward each other and the new people in their lives. This sounds sort of like Peyton Place, but Robinsons does a careful job of keeping it separated from the main mystery narrotive, throwing the complications in to either move the narrative along or to slow it down so the reader can breathe. All in all, he is quite successful. I am now eager to read the next story, just to see if Peter Robinson is slipping or whether I am getting better at reading his work.
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